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ENE Memo: August 31, 2015

From the Head: 8/31

Lasting Achievements

Each new academic year is full of promise. It is a new beginning; an opportunity to do things differently. It is full of emergent possibilities. Each of us has set individual goals for this year. As a school we have also identified a number of strategic targets that we plan to achieve this year. If realized, will our collective achievements planned for 2015/16 provide real satisfaction and be of lasting importance? Often we strive for the things that bring immediate external recognition (which is fleeting) rather than seeking those things that lead to an authentic life.

Bernie Roth, co-founder of the at Stanford, recently published a book that challenges us to examine what really counts as an achievement over the long haul. The Achievement Habit: Stop Wishing, Start Doing, and Take Command of Your Life is a very deceptive title. This is not a think positive, self-help book. Bernie draws on lifetime of experience as an inspired teacher, an exemplary mentor and a globally recognized researcher to distill some penetrating insights and timeless wisdom about being an engineering educator.

For decades he has offered a legendary course at Stanford called The Designer in Society. In essence his students are challenged to identify something significant in their lives that, if changed, would have profound and lasting impact on them. They undertake to tackle this personal challenge and report on the outcomes to gain credit. By any measure this is an unconventional course for an engineering program; one that would in all probability not be sanctioned in most universities. Yet this course has had a transformational impact on the lives of several generations of students. When all the content of the "hard" technical courses is long forgotten, the lessons from this "soft" course remain relevant across a lifetime.

Back in 1991/92, I co-taught a year-long, graduate level, industry-sponsored design project course with Bernie at Stanford. Teams of students, most with several years of industry experience, used what would now be called design thinking to respond to a brief from a client by conceiving and creating a working prototype of a possible solution. Co-teaching with Bernie, I learned so much about educating engineers; nurturing empathetic designers for whom user-centered was a way of being and not a trendy slogan. I experienced first-hand how engineering can be taught as being a social endeavor; more about people than it is about things. Then there was the "paper-bike" competition which included operating the bikes in a pond as well as on dry land!

It is impossible to adequately summarize his book. Nevertheless here are a few key concepts. Being an effective professional (and indeed a pleasant person to be around) means being deeply self-aware and brutally honest with yourself. It is about not making excuses or giving reasons for why this or that did not happen. It is about being responsible for your actions and holding yourself accountable. It is about facing up to those habitual behaviors through which we continually let ourselves down and how to deal with these once and for all. It is about being mindful and becoming a better person. It is about not only having the intention to do something but also giving this activity your full and sustained attention to make it so. It is about being vulnerable. It is about becoming more virtuous. It is about creating meaning.

You can hear Bernie in his own words being interviewed about the Achievement Habit.

What we truly achieve in life is not necessarily measured by our tangible accomplishments or the number awards we win. Lasting achievements are more about who we are for others along the way.


Calendar: 8/31


  • Sept 2: ENE Faculty Meeting, 9:30-10:30am, WANG 3501
  • Sept 2: Assistant Professors meet with Head, 10:30-11:30am, WANG 3501  
  • Sept 3: ENE Research Seminar ARMS 1109 3:30pm 
  • Sept 7: Labor Day
  • Sept 9: ENE Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:30am, WANG 3501
  • Sept 16: ENE Advance Follow-Up, 9:30-11:30am, WANG 3501
  • Sept 19: Family Day
  • Sept 30: ENE Faculty Meeting, 9:30-10:30am, WANG 3501
  • Sept 30: Associate Professors meet with Head, 10:30-11:30, WANG 3501
  • Oct 4/5: Big Ten + Grad Expo
  • Oct 12/13: Fall Break
  • Oct 16: ENE Staff Meeting, 8:30-9:30am, WANG 3501
  • Oct 28: ENE Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:30am, WANG 3501
  • Oct 28/29: ENE Grad Program Open House
  • Nov 4: ENE Advance Follow-Up, 9:30-11:30, WANG 3501
  • Nov 7: Homecoming
  • Nov 12: ENE Interdisciplinary Engineering Colloquium, 3:30-5pm, ARMS Atrium
  • Nov 13: ENE Industrial Advisory Council, 8:00am-3pm, WANG 3501
  • Nov 18: Faculty-PhD Student Matching, 9:30-11:30, WANG 3501
  • Nov 26/27: Thanksgiving
  • Dec 2: ENE Faculty Meeting, 9:30-11:30am, WANG 3501
  • Dec 20: Commencement

Spring 2016

  • Feb 24: ENE Outstanding Alumni Awards

News and Information: 8/31

NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Workshops

Graduate students (seniors and first or second year grad students – US citizens) who would be strong candidates for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship are encouraged to attend a workshop to help them be more competitive.  These will be offered four times, on the evenings of September 2, 3, 16 and 17.  Students must register for one of the workshops online.

Diversity Transformation Award announced

The Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Team in the Office of the Provost, has announced the Diversity Transformation Award (DTA) program, the goals of which are to:  

  • increase enrollment and success of underrepresented minority students (including first-generation college students and students with disabilities),
  • increase diversity within the faculty ranks, and
  • increase our understanding of factors affecting campus diversity and climate through research.

Approximately 5-8 proposals are expected to be funded, each for a period of two years, nominally at a level up to $150,000 per project.

The award selection process is simple and does not involve a written proposal. PIs just have to sign-up by October 9, and present their ideas before a faculty review panel on October 19. A subset of those PIs will be invited for a second round of presentations on November 6, after which awards will be made.

Specifics of the DTA program goals, requirements, and process are described in the launch announcement, which can be found at the DTA program website. Also included in the launch announcement are examples and concept suggestions to stimulate creative thought.

Applicants are encouraged to become familiar with the DTA program parameters, collaborate with their colleagues and submit a proposal to enhance campus diversity.

Innovation for International Development (I2D) Lab Meetings Fall 2015

UN member countries will adopt a new set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) that will transform the world by 2030. They will guide global efforts to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, ensure healthy lives and quality education, empower all women and girls, ensure access to water and sanitation and access to affordable, sustainable energy for all, build resilient infrastructure and promote sustainable industrialization.

I2D was launched in March this year to facilitate Purdue engineering faculty and students interested in R and D and translational impact in these areas. Since Spring 2015 a group of interested faculty in ENGR have been meeting on a monthly basis with other colleagues on campus (from Center for Global Food Security, Global Sustainability Institute, Burton Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship etc.) to discuss funding opportunities with USAID and other Foundations. One of the recommendations from faculty was to use these meetings to learn more about what each other’s interests are in this area. Several faculty have agreed to talk about their ongoing R&D in low and middle income countries in areas as diverse as Water and Sanitation, Energy, Labor saving innovations, Global health, Information and Communication Technologies.

First meeting is Wednesday, September 2

  • Yuehwern Yih, Humanitarian response and supply chain management
  • Chad Jafvert  & John Howarter, Medium capacity slow sand filters & Smart phone-based spectrophotometer+turbidity meter for water testing

All meetings will be held from 12:00 to 1:30pm in WANG 2501. Lunch will be provided for all meetings

GK-12 Program: Applications Due Sept 3

GK-12 is an exciting program organized through the Graduate School that gives graduate and post-doctoral students a mentored, in-depth opportunity to share their research with K-12 students and teachers in a local middle school.  This provides graduate and post-doctoral students with enhanced skills and experience in outreach, teaching and communication of their research.  Past participants have found that it makes them more competitive for jobs and significantly improves their ability to communicate their research.

How does it work?:  After an initial training session, participants in the GK-12 program will learn from and assist teachers in a local middle school for approximately one day a week for 10 weeks, and by the end of the semester they will develop and teach a lesson that brings their interests and research into a middle school classroom.  This is an extension of a very successful externally-funded program that ran for several years, and has now been successfully transitioned to a graduate school program.  While this program does not provide funding directly to the graduate student or post doc, some modest funding is available for expenses associated with materials for in-class activities.  Students may elect to register for 2 credit hours for their involvement, and the program is open to all Master’s, Ph.D., and Post-Doc students at Purdue (any and all disciplines).  

For more information about the Fall 2015 semester GK-12 program please read the attached brochure and feel free to email the program coordinator, Christopher Roemmele (  

Funding Opportunities: 8/31

EVPRP Workshop: Developing Grant Proposals

This workshop will provide you with strategies and tools to improve your grantsmanship and point you to unique resources at Purdue that can help make your grant writing process less stressful and more successful.

Topics covered:

  • Where can I go for help?
  • Developing a compelling storyline
  • Responding to a solicitation
  • Identifying win differentiators
  • Writing with reviewers in mind

The workshop will be held on September 22nd from 11:30 am to 1:00 pm in STEW 214CD.  Lunch will be provided so registration is required.  Please register by Thursday, Sept. 17th at

Selected Funding Opportunities:

NSF Resource Implementations for Data Intensive Research in the Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences (RIDIR) As part of NSF’s Cyberinfrastructure Framework for 21st Century Science and Engineering activity, the Directorate for Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences seeks to develop user-friendly large-scale next-generation data resources and relevant analytic techniques to advance fundamental research in SBE areas of study. Deadline: February 29

NSF Dear Colleague Letter – Support for Engaging Students and the Public in Polar Research The Division of Polar Programs (PLR), the Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE) and the Division of Research on Learning (DRL) encourage proposals that will leverage the extensive NSF investment in polar sciences and infrastructure, and STEM education research and development, to promote an informed citizenry and the next generation of polar scientists. In order to advance polar science educational opportunities, PLR, DUE and DRL will accept and review proposals for research and development projects that facilitate the use of data from polar regions in (1) undergraduate education or (2) informal science education. Proposals in response to this Dear Colleague Letter must be submitted to either the Improving Undergraduate Science Education: Education and Human Resources (IUSE: EHR) deadline of November 3, or the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) deadline of November 4.

DOD-AFOSR FY16 Young Investigator Research Program (YIP)  The YIP supports young scientists and engineers in Air Force relevant disciplines and is designed to promote innovative research in science and engineering. The awards foster creative basic research in science and engineering, enhance early career development of outstanding young investigators, and increase opportunities to recognize Air Force mission and challenges in science and engineering. Deadline: October 9

DOD Naval Research Laboratory BAA NRL conducts basic and applied research for the Navy in a variety of scientific and technical disciplines. The basic research program is driven by perceptions about future requirements of the Navy.  White papers are continuously accepted. 

DOE-ARPA-E Innovative Development in Energy-Related Applied Science (IDEAS) This FOA is intended to provide rapid support to revolutionary applied energy research that may lead to new ARPA-E programs to develop transformational and disruptive energy technologies. The broad objective of this FOA is to identify disruptive concepts in energy-related technologies that challenge the status quo and represent a leap beyond today’s technology. An innovative concept alone is not enough; the idea must also have the potential to be impactful. Concept papers due September 28.

Library of Congress Kislask Fellowship for the Study of the History and Cultures of the Early Americas The Kislak Fellows Program supports scholarly research that contributes significantly to a greater understanding of the history and cultures of the Americas. It provides an opportunity for a period of 3 months of concentrated use of materials from the Kislak Collection and other collections of the Library of Congress, through full-time residency at the Library. Deadline: October 15

Library of Congress Kluge Fellowship in Digital Studies  The Library’s John W. Kluge Center seeks proposals from scholars worldwide that will generate deep, empirically-grounded understanding of the consequences of the digital revolution on how people think, how society functions, and on international relations. Proposals may also explore and analyze emerging trends and new phenomena that may generate consequential changes in the future. Deadline: December 6

Brady Education Foundation The Foundation seeks to close the achievement/opportunity gap for children at risk for poor school outcomes due to environmental factors associated with living in poverty. The Foundation pursues its mission by promoting collaboration between researchers and educators via the funding of program development and program evaluations in education. The foundation funds two types of projects:  1.) Program Development and 2.) Existing Program Evaluation.  Stage 1 of application process due December 15; Invited State 2 applications due April 15.

Limited Submissions:

Preproposals and rankings to the EVPRP should be e-mailed to Purdue’s open limited submission competitions, limited submission policy, and templates for preproposals may be found at For any case in which the number of preproposals received is no more than the number of proposals allowed by the sponsor, the EVPRP will notify the PI(s) that an internal competition will be unnecessary.


NSF FAQs for Research in the Formation of Engineers (RFE), PD 15-1340

NSF Dear Colleague Letter: Special Guidelines for Submitting Collaborative Proposals under the US NSF/BIO/MCB – US-Israel BSF International Opportunity 

NSF Dear Colleague Letter: Special Guidelines for Submitting Collaborative Proposals under the NSF/ENG/ECCS – US-Israel BSF International Opportunity

As always, we appreciate your sharing this information with your faculty.  Please contact Sue Grimes (, Kristyn Jewell (, or Perry Kirkham ( with any questions

To suggest content for future issues of ENE Memo, contact Teresa Morris or David Radcliffe by midday Friday for the following week's issue.